Coffee Express

Providing great service to coffee houses and other specialty retailers in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana

Posts Tagged / Day-to-day

The Current State Of Specialty Coffee

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We are now roasting new crop Central American coffees, and they taste fantastic. Some of these are used in our House and House Full City blends, which translates to a lot of of fabulous flavors for you to try. Scott is partial to the milder coffees, so new crop Costa Rican or House Blend is what he’d brew if given a choice. Walt is enjoying the fresh crop Centrals, and organic French Roast (for his espressos) – which also has new crop in it.

We always brew the coffees right after roasting and again the next day, but the flavors continue to develop three or four more days. Roasting changes the chemical makeup of the beans. The heat burns the sugars that are inside, and brings the oils that carry much of the flavor to the surface. On close inspection of a roasted bean, you will notice – especially in a dark roast – a speck of oil emerging. That speck will continue to spread, covering the whole bean, and subtly changing the flavor as it goes.

How do cantaloup, hibiscus, or soy sauce grab you as tasting notes in coffee? There is an updated coffee tasting flavor wheel that has some interesting descriptive terms. Though some of the identifiers are a bit outside the pale, we at Coffee Express have picked up and recognized many of these taste notes. See what you think for yourself at counterculturecoffee.com/coffee-tasters-flavor-wheel

We hope you enjoy these excellent new crop coffees, and that you’ll have some fun picking up some of the flavors from the wheel!

How’s The Weather?

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Anyone who’s pulled a shot of espresso knows temperature and humidity can affect the pour.  Many baristas adjust the grind and dose to compensate.

Similar factors influence the way we roast. You’ve probably noticed how light our dark roast coffees look the first day of 15-degree temperatures. We get at least one call per year wondering if we sent the right coffee! Rest assured we tell them, it will darken in a day or two at room temperature.

Warm summer temps age roasted coffee very quickly, while cold, dry winter weather slows the curing process

Our roasters Walt and Scott have to continually make adjustments depending on the conditions each day, and the age and moisture level of the green coffee they’re using. This is in addition to adapting to the variety of bean Brazil, Costa Rica, Sumatra, etc.

All three of our roast machines have read-outs. We typically set an ending temperature only as an emergency stopping point, monitoring each and every roast by hand. The first few batches can be an indicator of how things will be going that day.

I don’t want to leave out the importance of the age of green beans. Generally, green coffee – once processed – has a three to five month period when it is at its best. It will tend to dry some over time, which affects roasting.

Softer coffees, such as Brazil, Sumatra, some Mexicans, and others, develop more quickly. Harder beans, including Costa Rica and Kenya, more time. Coffees like Yemen Mocha are a devil to control. Scott and Walt use hundreds of signals, honed from their many years of roasting, to arrive at the result they are looking for.

It’s in the Cup

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While there are many aspects to running a coffee house, or a store selling coffee among its various products, the taste in the cup still rules. Finding what you like is a process filled with a sometimes confusing array of choices – each of which affects your end result. Read More

As The Roaster Turns

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It will be twenty-two years this August since I first came to work for Coffee Express, and so much has happened in the coffee world since then. You could say a lot of water has passed over the coffee grounds. First, specialty coffees emerged as the new status-quo, then organics hit the scene, and lately – due to a surge in interest about the traceability and origins of what we are eating and drinking – Microlots have become more popular. But some things don’t change, like the fragrance coming from opening the coffee bins first thing in the morning, the smell of fresh ground coffee, and the aroma of a freshly-brewed pot.  Read More